Even though it's only Week 6 on the football schedule, playoff time has arrived early for Jacobs.
And a postseason approach was clearly on display during the Golden Eagles' 35-18 Fox Valley Conference win Friday over Crystal Lake Central at Owen Metcalf Field in Crystal Lake.
Not only did Jacobs jump to 4-2 overall (4-2 FVC) to get to within 1 game of qualifying for a playoff spot, the Golden Eagles showed their balance on both sides of the ball.
Quarterback Anthony Wilson threw 3 touchdowns to John Farrissey (6 catches, 128 yards) for a line of 8-for-15 for 156 yards while Stephen Kavanaugh rushed 22 times for 103 yards and 1 touchdown.
The Jacobs defense poached 3 interceptions, including 2 by sophomore RJ Anderson deep in CLC territory. And the defense also totaled 5 sacks, 4 of which came from linemen Eric Schutt.
"We consider every game from here on out a playoff game," said Schutt, who had 8 total sacks coming in. "So we're making them must-win situations, so we're going into it like a playoff game."
It seemed that way from the get-go, as Jacobs wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Kavanaugh ended a 9-play, 53-yard drive with a 7-yard run to go up 7-0 with 8:25 left in the first, a lead they never relinquished.
But it all wasn't breezy at times for the Golden Eagles, who did have their troubles holding onto the ball. Jacobs coughed up 3 fumbles, one which led to a Central (4-2, 3-2) score on a 1-play, 17-yard drive that Braden Bisram finished off to make it 7-6 midway through the first quarter.
"I was very upset, we fumbled the ball a couple times, a couple times on snaps," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. "We can't be doing stuff like that and the kids know that -- that's something we have to shore up."
Though one thing was for sure: Jacobs had the answer for Central quarterback Jake Staples. The senior finished 17-for-38 for 193 yards and 3 picks thrown with 18 rushes for 81 yards. But he and standout receiver Daniel Manning could not connect thanks to the cover job of Jukauri Bland. It didn't help that Schutt was coming after Staples throughout.
"(We had to) contain on the outside on passes because we know (Staples) can move around in the pocket but in the air we know our cornerbacks are going to handle it," Schutt said. "We were doing a lot of stunts on the line, moving a lot of people around, and were able to create gaps."
One sack induced a 15-yard loss while another forced a punt all coming in the second quarter. But that's when the Wilson-Farrissey show started which allowed Jacobs to run away with it. Farrissey caught a 27-yard fade with 9:42 left in the quarter and then followed with catches over the top of from 47 and 29 yards out in the fourth quarter to help pad the lead.
"At the end they were popping, trying to stop the run there," Wilson said. "And we beat them deep two times there. "
And Mitz is happy to have a quarterback like Wilson back there.
"Everybody was worried about the guy leaving," Mitz said. "I said, no, we got a good guy who's going to be there (this year), and he's doing a good job."